Cheap Eats: OffCenter serves fancy food at an affordable price
Despite living near The Yorktowne Hotel, I had never eaten at the OffCenter Grill.
I see the eatery every day, often passing it on my way for a run on the rail trail or driving home from work.
I stopped there for a drink on the patio a few times, but never for a meal. I always
assumed it was on the pricier side or that it catered more to hotel guests.
Restaurant supervisor Ashley Buser said that's what many people think. However, the grill offers affordable meals and several wallet-friendly specials during the week.
I stopped for a late weekday lunch. I liked the menu selection, which included a mandarin cashew chicken salad, the hotel's signature tomato bisque, a black angus burger with choice of Swiss, cheddar or Roquefort cheese, fish tacos and wraps. Lunches range from $8 to $12.
I wasn't too hungry, so I ordered a seafood salad and a coffee. I don't condone pairing coffee with seafood, but I needed a pick-me-up. I took in the scenery at a table near the front window and waited about five minutes for my food. The work of local artists hung on the tan walls. Customers can buy the paintings. Navy cloth napkins and royal blue décor on tables accented the neutral tone.
The salad consisted of crab, shrimp, bay scallops, fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, citrus supremes and a lemon-herb vinaigrette.
Though I love seafood, I enjoyed the pieces of grapefruit and orange most. I was skeptical about the grapefruit, but it gave the dish a
refreshing taste. I've never seen a salad like that on any menu, and I appreciated the creativity.
Buser, who has worked at the hotel for seven years, said she enjoys working there because of the great food. Chef Derek Myers runs the kitchen, which prepares all the food served in the hotel.
"Everything is fresh," Buser said. "I like being able to sell such a great product."
Buser said the grill's clientele varies, from hotel guests to locals. She said brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday tends to be the restaurant's busiest time. Guests may choose from cinnamon-style french toast - served with caramelized bananas - and a create-your-own omelet, among other items. All brunch meals come with a complimentary mimosa and basket of fresh pastries.
The grill also hosts a $10 lunch buffet on Fridays, happy hour 5 to 7 p.m. every day, and free hors d'oeuvres and live music 4:30 to
6:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
Buser said the restaurant has always been a part of the hotel - which opened in 1925 - however it was most recently called The Autograph. She said the hotel changed the name to OffCenter Grill about 10 years ago and renovated it to have a more artsy vibe.
For guests who are looking for a more upscale restaurant with a historic feel, check out the Commonwealth Room, which serves more "worldly" foods, such as wild bore, elk and quail.
With its two restaurants, the Yorktowne offers casual and fancy dining experiences. But keep in mind - all the food is made in the same kitchen.
Cheap Eats profiles local restaurants, aiming to please our palates and our wallets. Reach Leigh Zaleski at 717-771-2101, firstname.lastname@example.org, @leighzaleski.
LOCATION: The Yorktowne Hotel, 48 E. Market St. in York
LEIGH'S PICK: Seafood salad and a coffee ($13.25)
PARKING: Yes, free validated valet
HOURS: 6:30 a.m. to midnight every day
PRICE RANGE: $1 to $20
ACCEPTS: Cash and credit
KID'S MENU: Yes
DETAILS: Call 717-848-1111 or visit www.yorktowne.com